Sunday, February 24, 2013

Loss, Walls and Pressing On.

Sadly I find myself apologizing again for the tardiness of our post. I know you are probably fine with it and understand that its busy and hard to post every week. But partly our reasons of trying to post once a week are more than anything because its fresh and easier to remember to record.We also love that we can keep you all informed of our experiences and feel that you are sharing in them with us.

Part of the reason for our tardiness this week is last Saturday we got news that our beloved friend and spiritual father Joe Manahan passed and went to be with Jesus.  As we had shared before he had a pretty fierce 3+ year battle with brain cancer.  We know he is running and jumping and talking and doing all the things that were taken from him here on earth.  We know he is chasing down some of the greats from before us to ask questions and tell stories. Oh how he loved stories! We here on earth are trying to process the loss on earth of such a great man. memories flooding in followed by tears and laughter. A man who treated Bruce and I as if we were his own. Our children as if they were an extension of his own family. A man who was ALWAYS happy to see us and know what was going on in our lives. A man whose love for God was contagious. He invested in our lives and the lives of everyone around him and taught us so much about the father heart of God about how to never give up in prayer of how following God doesn't require us to be perfect but to be real and to give Him your whole heart. We have been so blessed to be a part of the family he and Mary have established and we love you both so much. The only thing that consoles us today is imagining him entering heavens gates in true Joe Mahahan style. LOUD, JOYFUL and dancing like he's in an African worship service! He will be missed more than he will ever know! 

Sweet Mary and Joe

Our Wedding

 So on to walls... what do I mean by this? Well We have been doing this school for almost 8 months. 5 of these months being in 3rd world countries trying to make guest houses and suitcases feel like home. Most YWAM schools are about 3 months of lecture and 2-3 months of outreach. We have already seen these other schools come and go and we have less than 2 weeks left in Tanzania and then close to 3 months left in Zambia. We are tired. The whole team kinda hit that virtual wall. The wall that every year teams before us have hit. Starting to feel home sick for some sort of stability or normalcy. We just got settled into a place and then know we have to leave in 2 weeks to start all over again. Take being exhausted from pregnancy and desiring to be at home with those at home who are broken-hearted over the loss of Joe and BAM!! King sized wall.  The good news is is that we have made the choice to all press on. To not just suck it up, but make the best of the rest of our time together as a team in Africa.  After all "God who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ is faithful!" 1Cor. 1:9 Also as far as being home to mourn with others over the loss of Joe we know that he would have wanted us to be here. I've asked myself what Joe would have wanted and I know he was so happy and proud that we were living our out our passions and serving others.

The kids are also doing great and aside from just having normal "kid" moments they are a daily reminder of how to take what each day brings and not worry about tomorrow. Kids have the amazing ability to do that. Our kids are champs and although Abigail is planning her first few months menu for her time back in the states they are both enjoying the little joys that each day brings.. like this last Thursday we gave them a 10 gallon bucket of water to waste and they thought it was amazing and had a blast dumping over each others heads.

So here we are pressing on. This last week at the hospital I've started to get into the swing of how things work. Feeling a little more at ease with the place and getting to know the staff.  Pity that it took us this long and we will be moving on in 2 weeks but its been nice to learn more about the people of Tanzania.  Something that I have been struck by in our time here is how most of the docs and interns are much more caring with the patients. Africa is so much more about relationships and there is overall a common your my brother, your my sister, family feeling. Overall there is a much more caring attitude towards the moms and babies.

The staff is tired, overworked and definitely have no problem sitting back and letting us get all the hands on training we desire. The problem with that is as a student we max at 1-2 births in a 5 hr shift just because we are learning total care of the mom and baby and learning accurate record keeping. There are more babies to be delivered in that 5 hr shift than we can get our hands on but we just cannot take them all and sometimes its a challenge to get the staff who is pretty comfy letting us do the deliveries to step in and take the ones we just cannot.

 This last week there was a few crazy days. One where we all had had a delivery in the first hour of being there! I was with the mother I was monitoring and one of the nurses said there's a mom ready to deliver on the bed next over. I said I'm sorry we all are monitoring women we just delivered and cannot take it on at this moment. She looks at me with panic and says "but I see head!" I said "well then you better go tell someone". I really wasn't trying to be rude but this particular morning there were about 6 staff members sitting behind the desk chatting.  For us as students its just not wise to take on more than we can chew.  That day it was a good thing I didn't. The mom I delivered had a horrible case of trailing membranes. (meaning the membranes attached to the placenta came out last and were trailing behind)(sorry for those of you who don't like the medical talk) Trailing membranes are like the wild card.. they are so tricky.. and this is why. About an hour after delivery my mom started to hemorrhage (bleed out). This could be for several different reasons but I knew what it was. The uterus will not contract back down if there is even the smallest amount of anything remaining in it and membranes are those tricky little buggers that are near impossible to find. The needle in a haystack if you will. We had swiped for them really well right after the delivery but those buggers like to hide! fortunately we were quickly able to find what was causing the problem (prayer always helps!) and we were able to give the mom the drugs and fluids she needed to stop bleeding and be o.k. Seriously thank you Jesus.. because this is one of the main reasons women die in developing nations. Mostly because it takes less blood loss for an anemic woman to be considered a danger and probably close to 80% of women in developing nations are just that. 

Here is the young momma and her new daughter.

 Sarah, one of my classmates, and I had the worst day together.. we both delivered moms side by side at the same time and our moms both hemorrhaged at the same time. We were exhausted and dead on our feet and took the bus home together after our shift. The buses are always jam packed and you are fighting for a spot and usually crammed on smashed standing between sweaty people.. (not to mention the day before when we took the bus home the bus was so packed the guy forgot to let us off at our stop and we had to get off at the next stop and back track!) as we stood waiting for a bus I said "Jesus, we've had a DAY! please send us a bus with open seats." pretty much joking because it NEVER happens.. and guess what?? the next bus that pulls up is HALF EMPTY!! and it stayed comfortably full for the rest of the ride home! LOVE IT!

this is one of those times I ask myself.. sink or toilet? the answer was sink but WHA???
few more cute baby pics.. CHECK OUT THOSE CUTE LIPS!!
Maria is a beautiful humble woman who works at our guest house. She every week cleans the guestrooms and is such a blessing! She is always smiling and ready to greet you.  On valentines day she wanted to celebrate her birthday with us.  Wanna know how Tanzanians celebrate their birthday?? They cook YOU dinner and bring YOU cake!!!!! pretty much sure I will not be adopting this tradition. :)
Beautiful Maria enjoying dinner
Josiah pretending to cook dinner.
Bruce thought it was funny to put the left over steak in a heart shaped container for the kids to give me for Valentine's Day. (Always craving beef :) ) 

 This last week Bruce took the kids on a field trip to the local "village museum" Which basically was huts built by different tribes in Tanzania.  They even got a little tribal entertainment.

Josiah enjoying the tribal entertainment.

Checkin out the huts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Malaria?,Tanzanite, and the Doors of Zanzibar

So, for starters, in regards to malaria everyone is fine. The kids and I have been feeling fine but this past week and even a little before Heather has been in a mental fog and then had this persistent headache with tiredness. Sounds like pregnancy too right? But a number of the girls from the team were having the same symptoms and some of them were testing positive for malaria. Heather’s test came back negative but malaria tests you have to take with a bit of salt and the general rule is, if you’re still not feeling better in a few days, just treat it. So we did. And Heather has feeling better ever since. Part of the blessing and curse of taking malaria prophylaxis is sometimes it dulls down the symptoms so you have a hard time realizing you have it. So she probably had malaria but thankfully a mild case and the treatment has helped. Thank God.

As I said, the kids have been feeling fine and they continue to do well in school. This past week we went to a small museum (a showcase really) about Tanzanite. If you’re not familiar, Tanzanite is a purplish, blue gemstone, found only in Tanzania in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was discovered in the late 60’s and brought to New York where Tiffany’s put it on the map as something to be coveted. It really is a beautiful stone but it wasn’t long before the kids were bored and I had to break out the puzzles. Meanwhile I was getting the whole history of Tanzanite from one of the museum employees/salespeople? and was beginning to get worried that this lady was expecting me to buy something at the end of all this. (Although Heather certainly would have been happy with that) it wasn’t going to happen and when I explained to the lady I wasn’t there to buy anything she backed off and was still pleasant enough. Interesting fact: supposedly there’s only about 30 more years of mining before the mines will run out. Buy your Tanzanite today!

This last week was once again filled with lectures (Mon-Tue) and hospital at the end of the week. As Bruce mentioned above I (Heather) wasn’t feeling well and so opted to stay home and rest on Weds to rest. I then went to the hospital Thurs. and had a very frustrating day of chasing down a case study.  As part of our lecture phase we have to find patients who have one of the complications of pregnancy that we are studying.  There are 4 in all.  This particular day the doctors who are normally very helpful were not really around at all and a classmate and I spent the entire day looking through paperwork and cases following leads to either find patients that met the criteria, find someone to translate, search for the woman only to find out they were already sent home and there was no record of their discharge, or they were semi-unconscious and unable to answer questions about their history. When we found a great case with 2 of the 4 we found that the doctor had incomplete notes and therefore we couldn’t use the case! Ugh! We had a headache halfway through the day and finally found our case in the labor ward in the last 15 mins of our shift!! Thankfully it was a case handled by one of our fellow students so we had all the info we needed and were even able to interview her with the help of a nurse just minutes before she was shifted to the post-natal ward. Whew! Friday it was arranged that Bruce would go into the hospital and work with some of the docs. He ended up in a pre-surgery clinic where patients were being assessed to see if they needed surgery or not. He had a good day hanging out with the docs and seeing some patients.  I had a great day home with the kids doing school and hanging out.  Bruce also took the kids to a play area and for pizza on Weds along with the Tanzanite Museum.

Its always so interesting and sometimes downright funny to see and read the recycled tee-shirts and hats that have made their way to East Africa. We've seen several Wisconsin Badger shirts, Chicago Cubs and even a Hoosiers shirt that the guy at the hospital canteen wears weekly. Thurs on the bus this guy was representin' ! 

This last weekend was set aside for any of the team who wanted to go visit the island of Zanzibar. After going back and forth a bit we decided that it would be worth it.  We took the 1.5 hour ferry Saturday morning to get there and enjoyed lunch at a great café, an afternoon with the locals on the beach,  and some dinner over looking the water and a pretty intense soccer game that was going on. We then ventured to the evening fish market where we quickly learned that we could have easily filled our bellies with yummy fresh grilled meat and even grilled pizza for the kids. (BUMMER) We did enjoy some after dinner popcorn and Bruce enjoyed 1 skewer of fresh grilled mussels. The kids enjoyed all the cats that were roaming the market. (I mean if I were a cat that is where I would be).
The next morning we decided to take it slow. Enjoyed a delicious included breakfast in the café below our room and then decided to head towards the more touristy historical buildings of Zans. We discovered that the historical sites although very interesting were poorly managed. Not that there wasn't an over abundance of young men hanging around asking (aggressively at times) if you needed a guide or private tour (apparently it was low season).
We quickly learned that winding through the cobble stone streets and off the main roads on our own was the way to go. We enjoyed taking in some of the culture as well as admiring the beautiful carved wooden doors that can be found throughout the city. The city has a rich history that is evident by its Arab, Indian and African influences in the carvings in the doors. Zanzibar was mostly built up by Omani Arabs and made most of its wealth through spices grown on the island and a very extensive and horrific slave trade that at one time extended all the way to the Congo! It was a pretty hot day so after a few hours we had to retreat back to the café. We then took a quick hot walk to the Anglican Cathedral that was built on the site of the old slave market. It was our last bit of sobering history before taking the last ferry home in the afternoon. Whew! It was a quick but rather much needed relaxing weekend. We all had a great time.  
the ferry ride

the kids favorite past time now. they love drawing!

this ones for all the sailors in my fam!

streets kinda reminded me of Israel.

ice-cream before dinner? yes please!

we had fun watching these guys pile into the tiny boat to get to the big boat.. 5-6 at a time!!

this girl was hilarious aside from the fact that her and her friends where eating sand! she kept filling her clothes with sand. 

I met this woman while dipping my toes in the water and she insisted we take a photo together but was unhappy with the outcome of each one! haha!

downside to the fish market. (upside if you are 3 and 5yrs old)

a little morning milk

A Masai young man that we bought some earrings from. He had "no" change so sent Bruce for a walk and then all of a sudden had change. :)

there is no shortage of Barack merchandise. I have seen everything from t-shirts to underwear. We even met a man who named his shop the "Obama Shop"

local bookstore

                                                    Some much needed rehydration!!

the actual pit where they sold the slaves from. :(